(Updated: 9:45 a.m.)
It all comes down to the final game of the season as the Orioles determine where they’ll begin their first postseason run in 15 years.
With races in the American League East and American League West yet to be decided, all eyes will be focused on what happens in St. Petersburg, the Bronx, and Oakland on Wednesday.
The scenarios are predictably simpler after Tuesday night’s action that included the Orioles’ 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, the Yankees’ 4-3 extra-inning victory over Boston, and the Athletics’ 3-1 win over the Texas Rangers to force a tie in the AL West.
If the Orioles win Wednesday night:
Baltimore controls its own fate to at least host the wild card play-in game in the event of a win over the Rays in the regular-season finale on Wednesday night. However, the Orioles will pay close attention to what happens elsewhere.
A Yankees loss to Boston means the Orioles and New York would both finish 94-68 and tie for the top spot in the AL East. The two clubs would play a division tiebreaker game on Thursday in Baltimore due to the Orioles having a superior division record (the clubs were tied 9-9 in the season series this season). The winner in that game would be considered the division champion while the loser would host the wild card play-in game on Friday.
For those wondering where the Orioles would be seeded should they beat New York in a potential tiebreaker game, Baltimore would be the No. 2 seed behind the winner of Wednesday’s Oakland-Texas game since they both own the tiebreaker over the Orioles (the division tiebreaker game does not apply to seeding for the playoffs). This means the Orioles would play Game 1 of the Division Series at No. 3 seed Detroit on Saturday.
A loss to the Yankees in a potential tiebreaker game means the Orioles would still host the loser of Oakland-Texas in the wild card play-in game on Friday.
A New York win clinches the AL East for the Yankees and locks the Orioles into the top wild card spot. Baltimore would then welcome the loser of the Texas-Oakland game to Oriole Park at Camden Yards for the wild-card play-in game. A victory for New York would also mean the Yankees are the top seed and would face the winner of the wild card game in the American League Division Series, with Game 1 taking place Sunday at the winner of the play-in game.
The Athletics and Rangers each sit atop the AL West with a 93-68 record, meaning the winner of Wednesday afternoon’s game in Oakland is the division champion while the loser is assured of the second wild card spot.
If the Orioles lose Wednesday night:
A loss against the Rays locks the Orioles into the second wild card spot and means the Yankees win the AL East regardless of how they fare against Boston.The Orioles would go on the road Friday to play the loser of Wednesday’s Athletics-Rangers game, who would finish with the same record as Baltimore.
Both the Athletics and Rangers own head-to-head tiebreakers over the Orioles.
A Rangers win means the Athletics will host the Orioles while an Athletics victory means the Orioles would travel to Arlington for the wild card play-in game.
If the Yankees lose Wednesday night, an Orioles loss and an Oakland loss would still lock New York into the top seed in the American League since it owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Rangers but not the Athletics.
Incredibly, Oakland would be the No. 1 seed in the American League with a win and a Yankees loss.